TBR Topple – January 2018

Welcome back to another TBR Topple. I hope everyone had a fantastic festive period and is recovering from a night of celebrating seeing in the New Year!

Today I bring you another selection of books from my TBR to pick from in this month’s TBR Topple Poll. The Poll will remain open until January 20th when I will draw the winner.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to vote and I look forward to seeing which of these books you pick!

As always the voting form is at the end of the post, and feel free to share the post to get others voting!

the_amaranthine_chronicles_boxsetThe Amaranthine Chronicles by Tiffany Shand
In a city of lies and deception, only one thing stands between chaos and justice. For centuries, a band of outlaws called the Amaranthine has kept the peace in Ormere and hidden in plain sight while the Order of Sorcerers spreads their deadly magic among the city’s inhabitants.

After losing her fiancé in bust gone wrong, Amaranthine Agent Kaylan Avilion returns home to discover that Elijah didn’t die but instead was changed by the twisted guards of the Order, who seek to find a dangerous artifact tied to Kaylan’s past and the murder of her family. When her sister goes missing and a foe from their past reemerges, Kaylan knows she must save Freya before she’s poisoned by the very people who took Elijah away from her. But how will Kaylan react when she learns Elijah’s secret, and can they come together to stop the Order’s plan in time?

The Bane - Keary Taylor

The Bane by Keary Taylor
Before the Evolution there was TorBane: technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter. It had the ability to grow new organs and limbs, to heal the world. Until it evolved out of control and spread like the common cold. The machine took over, the soul vanished, and the Bane were born. The Bane won’t stop until every last person has been infected. With less than two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction.

Eve knows the stories of the Evolution, the time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable to recall anything but her name. But she doesn’t need memories to know this world is her reality. This is a world that is quickly losing its humanity, one Bane at a time.

Fighting to keep one of the last remaining human colonies alive, Eve finds herself torn between her dedication to the colony, and the discovery of love. There is Avian and West – one a soldier, one a keeper of secrets. And in the end, Eve will make a choice that will change the future of mankind.

The Bane is The Terminator meets The Walking Dead with a heart-twisting romance.

To Journey In The Year Of The Tiger - H. Leighton DicksonTo Journey in the Year of the Tiger by H. Leighton Dickson
In the Survival of the Fittest, Not All Men are Created Equal. Some are Created Lions.

Kirin Wynegarde-Grey is a young lion with a big job – ensuring the stability and order of the Upper Kingdom, a genetically-altered Empire built in the Ashes of the ‘Ancestors,’ where humans are legend and animals walk like men. When an Ancestor awakens in the West, Kirin must lead a team that includes his unpredictable brother, a lethal swordswoman and three mysterious specialists to eliminate this ancient threat before it can usurp the Way of Things and plunge all the kingdoms into a state of war.

It’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ meets ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.’ Fans of Tolkien, Game of Thrones, or Japanese anime will be entertained in these intelligent, beautifully written pages in a blend of science, fantasy and zoological speculation.

Release Me - J KennerRelease Me by J Kenner
Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past – and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him – and us – for ever.

Shakespeare's Champion - Charlaine HarrisShakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris
Lily Bard is hiding from her past. She’s interested in getting away from her troubles, not finding more. So it’s unfortunate that she stumbles across the corpse of a local bodybuilder in the gym, his neck broken by a barbell.

With this death, the town’s racial tensions reach boiling point. The dead man was connected to two unsolved murders of black residents. And as one dogged policeman tries to stop the killing, Lily is faced with a choice: stay and fight for justice, or run away one more time.

Vote Now

Week in Review – 24 December 2017

This is my last week in review of the year. Next week I’m going to put up some posts looking at which reviews have been my most popular through the year, and I will also post my top ten books of the year, and yes I’ve been agonising over that one!

Into the New Year, I will go back to posting just one review a day on most days, I’ve been cramming the reviews in over the past few weeks to try and clear my backlog down so that I can go into the New Year relatively fresh. But at the speed, I’m reading at the moment that’s not going to happen!

One thing I wanted to talk about on here was a post I wrote at the beginning of the year. I know stretching it a bit, isn’t it? I wrote this post on my mental health blog before I stopped writing on it, and it was about what was essentially my resolution for the year. I wanted to be more positive. Anybody who has known me for a long time knows that I’ve always let the Bipolar dictate how things are going to be. I’ve always had a very short temper, I’ve been moody, and really not been a particularly nice person to be around and I went into this year wanting to put a stop to that. Last year I did a lot of work on learning how to manage the Bipolar and just understand it better, this year was about being a more positive person. So I thought I would just briefly summarise how I felt it has gone because as shocking as it may be I fully embraced this promise to myself and am still living it.

I started volunteering, and now have two volunteering roles one for mental health charity Second Step where I am doing digital marketing within their Communications team, and another for Bristol Council where I am a walk leader for one of the mental health walks.

I’ve been to more gigs/concerts/festivals this year than I have in the past four years combined. It feels like I’m getting back to myself, I used to go to gigs almost every day so to be starting to go to gigs again on a regular basis feels like a part of me is coming back. We all know reading is a huge part of my life but so is music and I’ve lost that in the past few years so I’m over the moon that I’m starting to find that connection again.

I’ve learned to say “Yes” and mean it, I used to say “Yes” and then find an excuse to back out of things, now I’m actually fully committing and trying new things. I’ve joined fitness classes which I’m loving and will talk more about in a minute, I’ve made new friends something I really struggle to do…while I’m very chatty and sociable, I struggle to make true connections with people, I’ve been out clubbing (shocking at my age I know!), and even just small things like meeting people for coffee, getting in my car and going to someone’s house. All things I was too daunted to do before.

I’ve been to lots of events I’ve never been to before including a bunch of book-related events, signings, discussions, Q&A’s, festivals and I’ve met some wonderful authors including Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Laini Taylor, Ed McDonald, Joanne Harris, and Anna Stephens

I finally got the courage to chop all my hair off, and I love it, I’m so happy with my crazy haircut now, and I just changed the colour to one I’ve never tried before, because why not?!

I’ve had random conversations with people on the bus just because I took a moment to smile at someone as they got on so they sat next to me, these were really cool conversations and I think back and smile remembering the people I’ve spoken to over the year on the bus/in the street/in cafes etc. Being more open to human interaction is a wonderful thing. The other thing that has happened a lot this year is people keep thinking I’m younger than I am. Now whether it’s the haircut or that by being more open to people I come across younger I don’t know but people have guessed my age at being between 23-28 now considering I’m 38 all of these guesses were gratefully received.

I’ve argued less this year, of course, I’ve still argued, I’m not flipping perfect! But nowhere near as much as usual, I’ve learned when to keep my mouth shut and walk away which is about 90% of the time. My mental health has still had its moments but I’ve been much better at managing what is happening and dealing with it. As I write this I’m having a quite bad hypomanic episode in fact but I’ve done everything I can to manage it, my Doctor is aware and we are keeping an eye on it.

My fitness has soared as well, as I said I joined a fitness class. I go to three classes a week, I’ve just started running, and I do yoga at home, this is all in addition to the walking I did anyway. Doing all of this exercise is massively helping with the positivity and my state of mind and I highly recommend it!

So next year? I’m going to continue doing this, I didn’t realise going into this that being positive was a lifestyle choice. I know, naive right? I want to continue being open to new people, new experiences, and life as a whole. I missed a lot of life while I was really sick and I don’t want to miss anymore. I want to take as much of life in as possible, every single second. I have some great things already in the pipeline for 2018 and I can’t wait to share them with you.

So I promise myself to continue approaching life from a positive standpoint and to continue trying to be open to new experiences.

What are you going to promise yourself for 2018?

I hope everybody has a great Christmas. I know not everybody celebrates but I hope whatever you do it’s relaxing, enjoyable and stress-free

TBR Topple Winner

Surviving the Rachel - Aven EllisI drew the winner of this month’s TBR Topple vote, as always thank you to everybody who took the time to vote. This month the winner was Surviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis. I’m looking forward to reading this I always enjoy Aven Ellis’ books immensely and will be reading it in the next couple of days! Look out for the review in the New Year along with the new Poll.

Book of the Month

I’m choosing for December a little early as next week I will be picking my books of the year.

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

The Vixen's Lead - Tate JamesThis book really blew me away, a debut author in the reverse harem genre, this is a paranormal/urban fantasy novel and is gripping from the first page to the last. A slow burn on the romance elements this focuses heavily on the paranormal storyline and I couldn’t put the book down. I finished it and immediately downloaded the second book and pre-ordered books three and four so confident was I that this was a series I was going to become completely enthralled by. You can read my full review here.

Allisons Adventures in Underland - C.M. StunichAnd because I’m indecisive, I’ve chosen another winner, Allison’s Adventure’s in Underland by C.M. Stunich. This was everything I want fairy tale retellings to be and they never are. It was dark, twisted, brutal, and sexy as hell. I read the whole book in one sitting because I just couldn’t tear myself away from it and I loved every last thing about it from the psychedelic drugs to the adaptation of “Eat Me” “Drink Me” which was just perfect. Every time I think I’ve seen everything Stunich has to throw at us she surprises me a bit more. I don’t know how I’m going to hold out until March for the second part of this series because I’m already at nail biting stage and I only read it last week!

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

I’ve not been showing books I pre-order on this, but I’ve decided to pop them in here on their own little gallery. I’ve added my most recent pre-orders to this week’s but going forward it will be a weekly thing as with the others.

Bought / Freebies

Pre-Orders

Book Post

Reviews

This week I have reviewed:

Five Star: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, Neil and Bennett by Sybil Bartel, Elements of Ruin by C.M. Stunich and Tate James, and Lindisfarne by Terry Tyler.
Four Star: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, Snow and SeductionFull Moon Rising by Keri Arthur, and Cowboy Up by Harper Sloan.

Other Posts

Corey Taylor provided a Christmas themed Music Monday this week. I took part in the book blitz for Bennett by Sybil Bartel and featured an excerpt from the book.

The Sims Tag

Thanks so much for Shananigans over at Reads and Reels for bringing this tag to my attention, this one looked like so much fun I just had to give it a whirl! I don’t play The Sims much anymore but I still remember when it first came out, the friends I was with at the time and how our lives got sucked into the computer quite completely! A big shout out to the YouTuber Hailey over at Hailey in Bookland who started this tag. Such a great idea!

There are no tags on this one so if you want to take part have at it!

The Original Sims: The Best Author Debut

I know, I know, I am probably being rather cliched here but this is one of the most outstanding pieces of literature I’ve ever read. It’s a deep exploration of what it’s like to deal with issues like loneliness, mental illness, and growing up. I was deeply moved by it as a teenager and always have a copy of it near to hand. Why this was J.D. Salinger’s only novel I have no idea, he had great things in him.

The Grim Reaper – The Saddest Character Death

I found this completely heartbreaking to read, even now years after reading it I can remember the choking feeling of trying to get through those final pages. And yes, the film was completely pants!

Sims Getting Stuck – A Character That Got In The Way

Talon - Julie Kagawa

Ember’s twin brother Dante is the definition of a third wheel, getting in the way, dropping her in it so she gets in trouble. So much for twins sticking together!

Simlish – A Book With Amazing Writing

the-last-days-of-magic

I’m just finishing this up at the moment so you can expect a review shortly but I’ve bee blown away with the way this is written and the way the different source materials have been woven together to create not just a fictional story but a fantasy. Superb.

Expansion Packs – A Series Where the Books Just Keep Getting Better

I have so much love for these books, I devoured them over a seriously short space of time and I was consistently surprised not just by Jen Williams writing but by the constant character and world development right up until the final page of the final book. I was completely devastated having to say goodbye to this world and the wonderful characters and even now over a year after I finished the last one I still miss some of the characters.

Cheats – A Book That’s Completely Unrealistic

I’m not sure what I disliked most about this, Bella was just so whiney, our ‘heroes’ were pretty damn pathetic, and the Stephenie Meyer went and made vampires glittery. I mean damn! I was definitely too old and not the target market for this book, I was even less impressed with the films! I know this is supposed to be unrealistic but Meyer took it to a whole new level where I just couldn’t wait to get out of there!

Needs Fulfillment – A Character Who Makes all the Wrong Decisions

Daredevils - Shawn Vestal

I have a soft spot for characters who make bad choices, it makes them more human. In this novel Loretta is running from people who have made awful choices for her, and she’s not making the best choices herself. But you understand her reasoning and are rooting for her to get where she wants to go although there’s a part of you that wishes she could see not everyone is against her.

Error Code 12 – A Series That Gets Off To A Great Start but Goes Downhill from There

I was completely hooked on this series, I couldn’t read them quick enough when they were released, but as I got further through I just wasn’t feeling the excitement from the author anymore, and I know you know what I mean! It’s reached the point I have the last two left to go and I just have no motivation to pick them up.

Sims Vortex – A Book Or Series That Completely Engrossed You

I started the Shannara novels about 25 years ago in my teens, there are so many branches of the novels now that I still haven’t read them all so I ocassionaly pick a new one up and dive back into this wonderful world that Terry Brooks has created. It’s like a safe place for me.

If you decide to take part I hope you have fun, it’s been great digging through my brain thinking of books to fill in the answers with!

Book Review: Day Shift (Midnight Texas #2) by Charlaine Harris

Title: Day Shift
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Publication Date: 7 May 2015
Format: eBook / Paperback / Hardcover / Audio
Pages: 320
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

Book Blurb:
Welcome to Midnight, Texas.

Continue reading Book Review: Day Shift (Midnight Texas #2) by Charlaine Harris

Book Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Title: Midnight Crossroad
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Paranormal / Mystery
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Publication Date: 8 May 2014
Format: eBook / Paperback / Hardback / Audio
Pages: 315
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US

Book Blurb:
From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse, the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a new, darker world – populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it?

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth…

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

My Review:
Welcome to Midnight in Texas, home to only a few people but to my pleasure some returning characters from previous Charlaine Harris series. Look out for characters from the Harper Connelly mysteries as well as an old favourite from Shakespeare!

For me this book, the first in a new series, Midnight Texas, returns Charlaine Harris to the writing of her pre-Sookie Stackhouse days. For those readers not familiar with her writing before the series which inspired the TV Series True Blood you really must go check out the back catalogue as this is full of her best work!

As much as I enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse series I missed the mystery and suspense that Charlaine Harris does so well, but also in quite a light hearted way. In Midnight she has kept an air of the paranormal she introduced in Bon Temps with the mysterious characters who have all ended up in this middle of nowhere town.

With the inevitable death of a local Charlaine Harris weaves a beautiful web of whodunnit that leaves you guessing to the end. As with most of her books, I was completely thrown sideways by the eventual reveal…nothing obvious here folks!

I’m so pleased to see Charlaine Harris back to what she does best and am already halfway through the next book in the series!

Thanks to Orion Publishing Group for the ARC in return for this this review.

About Charlaine Harris:
Author of a number of international bestselling series, Charlaine Harris’ many novels include the Sookie Stackhouse series, now also known as the books behind the HBO original series, True Blood. She has also penned the Harper Connelly mysteries, the Lily Bard Investigations and the Aurora Teagarden cases. Her latest novel, first in a brand new series, is Midnight Crossroad. Charlaine Harris was born and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area. Now married with children, she currently resides in Texas.

Charlaine Harris Links: